City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing – Review and Giveaway

This week I am reviewing a general interest book, City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing by Lorraine Johnson. I know we have members in our group who will surely appreciate this book, especially when it comes to those who boast a green thumb.

About the Book

The author of this week’s book, Lorraine Johnson has been a long-time food and gardening activist who shows in this book how to grow and forage our own food in the urban environment.  She lives in Toronto where she shares her backyard with her three chickens, Hermione, Roo and Nog, who supply her with at least six eggs every week who seem more like her “gal” friends than domestic laying fowl.

In the introduction of the book, Johnson explains how her ten-year old nephew at that time, and niece, while visiting her in urban Toronto one summer, discovered peas in a pod were actually good tasting, and not at all like the horrible canned variety they were so used to.  They saw “food as they’d never seen it before”.  She became quickly aware of how distant we are from our food and its source.  Promoting a lifestyle of  connecting ourselves to our food and gaining control of what we eat, Johnson explains in detail how to plan and grow your own food in the city.  Not only are backyard vegetable plots popping up in places long reserved for lawns, but some renegades are even planting their front yards with food.  Some are filling balconies and roof tops with food plants, while others are colonizing public spaces, community gardens, even boulevards and unconventional places with all that is edible.

Johnson also links together the idea of community and food and suggests a wide and long list of ideas on how to get your city involved.  One is the idea of having a garden yard-sale where people with extra produce set up tables in their front yards to sell or give away what they don’t need.

At the end of the book there is a plethora of valuable resources, a recommended list of books and organizations to draw from, and find support from.

My Thoughts

I found this book an interesting as well as amusing read.  I am somewhat cautious to dive into totally the idea of urban farming in public areas, especially with dog walkers, and contaminants from road salt, fuel emissions and debris.   I do like how Johnson suggests getting communities involved with community gardens, and teaching children how and what to grow.  Learning how to convert a grassy area into a garden was so easy.  I never imagined it could be so simple an idea and took only one season.  I was entertained by the idea of chickens living in a postage sized back yard in Toronto.  A recent issue this spring with poultry raising in London comes to mind.

Book Highlight

I was entertained by this easy to read book, and enjoyed many tips and ideas on how to grow food.  City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing by Lorraine Johnson has an epilogue entitled Adventures in Possibility, where there is a list of ten adventures in possibility.  Number one is as follows:

“1. GROW SOMETHING-ANYTHING-SOMEWHERE-ANYWHERE.  Start small if necessary.  Simply plant something-even if it’s just one thing-that’s edible: in a container on your porch, balcony, or fire escape; in a window box; in a pot by your kitchen window; in the ground in the back or front yard of your house or apartment building; in a pot against an outside wall…Nurture your plants through a growing season and when they’re ripe and ready to eat, thank yourself for making the effort and thank the sun, soil, and water for sustaining your effort.  Consider any disappointments or outright failures as fodder for good stories, and opportunities to learn something.  Rev up all your senses to high alert and eat the fruits of your labor with focused attention.  Allow satisfaction and celebration to creep into each bite.  Chew slowly, but plan quickly-for next year’s growing season.

Contest Details

Again, for this contest, you’ll have to comment on this review below.  Please leave your comment along with how long you have been a member of the Triple Cord CSA group and for this week, what sort of things you would like to see in the future on my blog. This week’s winner will be announced on July 28th and the winner will be able to pick up the book at next week’s July 29th pickup. Those who do not win but would still like a copy can purchase a copy of City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing by Lorraine Johnson through the following website: #mce_temp_url#

Lorraine Johnson also has a blog:

Congratulations to Jen for being the winner of this great publication, City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing by Lorraine Johnson.  I know you will enjoy the read!

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1 Response to City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing – Review and Giveaway

  1. Jen Williams says:

    I’m Jennifer; I have been a member since May 2010. My husband and I are really enjoying our organic food!

    I think it would be excellent on this website to have some reviews of natural products, like cleaning products, shampoo/soap, etc.

    For the review:
    Interesting review! I really like the idea of using grass-filled, essentially unused spaces to grow delicious, healthy, low-chemical foods. Plus I really like the idea (as you do as well) of teaching kids to graden, to know where their food comes from and learn the work involved in it (instead of the food just appearing on the table).

    This is a hot topic in London recently, but I really think the idea of growing chickens in the backyard is a good one. How could it be any worse than some people’s huge, noisy dogs that have no room to run around in a tiny backyard? The chickens would make far better pets, in my opinion!

    All in all this book sounds great and I think I will be looking for it next time I hit the libraray.


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